Featured The Difference Between PSA 10 and PSA 9

Discussion in 'Sports Card Chat' started by CamaroDMD, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. CamaroDMD

    CamaroDMD Insert Cool Title Moderator

    When I first got out of card collecting (later 1990s) it seemed that professional card grading was just starting to get popular. I personally transitioned from card collecting to coin collecting and discovered a world that was very into the idea of grading and certifying coins.

    I knew that Collector's Universe (who is the parent company of coin grading giant PCGS) also had a card/sports memorabilia grading service (PSA) but was never really exposed to it until I returned to the card hobby a few years back.

    Now, coins are graded on a scale of 1-70. Many collectors believe that a coin graded "70" isn't really a true thing...that it is almost a sales gimmick made up by the grading companies to encourage competition within their registries. A lot of the evidence to this is in the fact that the difference between a 69 and a 70 is so infinitesimally minor...that the price difference (which is sometimes great) isn't worth it.

    So, when I discovered PSA graded cards (and their competitors)...I assumed the same thing.

    Based on what I have seen, this is essentially true. The difference between a "9" and a "10" is so small I really can't tell a 9 and 10 apart when placed side by side. So, I personally don't see why I should pay the (sometimes) huge price difference.

    Take this card for example, the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. RC. This is a card that is currently high on my "want list." I had been planning on getting a PSA 10...but the based on eBay sales, the going rate for a 10 is $250-$300. I can get a PSA 9 for $35-$50. That is a significantly large price difference for virtually identical cards. It just seems crazy to me to pay PSA 10 money.

    Here is a pair of PSA graded UD Griffey RCs...one is a 9 and the other is a 10. I took these pics off eBay from different sellers so the scans aren't ideal. But, I certainly don't see a huge difference between the two. I think I'd be happy with the 9 out of this pair...wouldn't you?

    Peter T Davis likes this.
  2. camaropat

    camaropat Active Member

    The Griffey rc isn't an ideal card to compare imo, the UD hologram on the back is a BIG part of the grading of these. It has a tendancy to flake and chip, in some cases just come off altogether. the 9 could theoretically be in the same condition pertaining to the card's surface, corners, edges, ect, but has a minor flaw on the hologram that drops it down. That being said Ill go for the 9 every day of the week when buying graded, LOL! :D
  3. CamaroDMD

    CamaroDMD Insert Cool Title Moderator

    That's true...the hologram on the back can be a pain. I guess I was just speaking a little more generally.
  4. CamaroDMD

    CamaroDMD Insert Cool Title Moderator

    Here is another example I just saw yesterday. This one concerns my all-time favorite card, the 1981 Topps Joe Montana RC. You can pick up a PSA 8 in the $100 range, a PSA 9 will run you around $500. But...here is a PSA 10 that just sold. It sold for $11,750. I know there aren't many that have graded 10...but I just don't see a 20x increase in value with the very miniscule increase (if any) in conditon.


    Some day I would like to pick up a nice PSA 9...but even the price jump from 8 to 9 seems like quite a stretch. I'm not sure if even that jump in condition is worth the 5x price difference. I very well may end up with a PSA 8.
  5. Leafsfan1967

    Leafsfan1967 Well-Known Member

    There are several things that make a difference in grade you can't typically notice by the average Joe. Sure edges, surfaces, corners, and centering are a major part of the grade, but other stuff can affect it as well, and for that, you need to put it under a microscope. Register is something an average guy wouldn't know about. You all know that they use 4 different plates in printing a card (black, yellow, magenta, and cyan), but having all 4 plates alligned up from top to bottom, and side to side is important. If one, or more are slightly out of line, or register, the picture can appear a bit blurry, and text can have a certain colour sticking out to one side. Nothing can proove this point better than looking at old OPC, or Topps hockey cards from the 70's, and 80's. Look at some of those, and you'll see what I mean.

    Colour has a small part in it, as well. If you look at both Griffey's you have posted there, and one has slightly darker skin than the other. I am a journeyman printer, and can tell you there is slightly more blue ink, and red ink on the right copy. Also getting back to register, if you look at the rookie logo on the front, bottom, right side, the one on the right appears to be more crisper, and clearer than the left one, which appears a tad blurry to me.

    Nothing wrong with getting PSA 9 for your collection. Still considered a mint card. I don't want to get into my thoughts on grading, and that I think it's a huge scam, but.............ooops, I guess i just did?
  6. CamaroDMD

    CamaroDMD Insert Cool Title Moderator

    The funny thing is...I think the card on the left is the 10. But then again, they were both scanned by different people so it could also be the quality of the scanner and not the card.
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